In less than a fortnight after Congress president Rahul Gandhi, during his two-day visit to the UAE, flayed Prime Minister Narendra Modi over alleged intolerance in India, PM Modi on Tuesday launched a frontal attack on Congress for purportedly nurturing a culture of corruption and squandering of public money.
After inaugurating the 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) 2019 in his parliamentary constituency of Varanasi, Modi, while implicitly referring to former PM Rajiv Gandhi, said the departed leader had once stated that of the total government funds, only 15 per cent percolated to the ground level under public welfare schemes due to leakages.
“The party (Congress) was in power for the longest period of time, yet the prime minister (Gandhi) had to accept the fact about the culture (of corruption) that germinated during its regime…yet, in the following 10-15 years of its rule, there was no attempt to curb the loot and plug the leakage of public money,” Modi said without refraining from taking names.
“They (Congress) were aware of the ailment but took no steps to remedy the situation. The middle class paid taxes honestly, but the squander of public money continued unabated,” he added.
Modi claimed that his government had used technology to plug leakages in public expenditure. During the past four and a half years, almost Rs 5.80 trillion or roughly $80 billion had been provided to people under different government schemes directly in their bank accounts for houses, education, food grains and much more, he claimed.
“If the country was being ruled according to the erstwhile corrupt practices, there would have been squandering of more than Rs 4.50 trillion worth of this government money,” Modi noted. He observed that previous dispensations could not bring about such a positive change since they lacked political willpower, intention and policies.
PM Modi announced that the Centre was working on the roadmap to link all government welfare schemes with the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) model. “We have weeded out nearly 70 million fictitious persons, who were availing of the benefit of government schemes. This is more than the population of Greater Britain, France and Italy. In fact, this is just a glimpse of the work that we are doing in the country.”
He listed various steps being taken by the Centre to facilitate this while addressing the Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and the People of Indian Origins (PIO).
PM Modi invited the NRIs to actively participate in the process of building ‘New India’ and the various schemes, including Startup India, Defence Corridor etc. “India is fast becoming an economic superpower and we are making big strides in infrastructure and space sectors. We are creating the world’s largest ‘startup ecosystem’ apart from world’s largest healthcare scheme of Ayushman Bharat (Modicare).”
He noted that India was taking the leadership position in different sectors, including environment and solar energy even as he stressed the global imperative of ‘One World, One Sun, One Grid’ theme under the International Solar Alliance (ISA).
Meanwhile, PM Modi termed the NRIs as India’s brand ambassadors, who exemplified their native country’s innate talent, might and capacity.
The gathering was also addressed by the minister of foreign affairs Sushma Swaraj and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath among others. Mauritian PM Pravind Jugnauth was the chief guest on the occasion.